When someone asks you the question, “what gets better than homemade bread?” you might, without a doubt, answer “nothing”. Well, it is a fact. Everybody must agree that the scent of freshly baked bread can never be surpassed.
Bread is a staple diet. And for all its worth, homemade bread can provide nutrition and health. It is just right that you spend some time to make your own at home than buying pieces in bakeries or packed breads in supermarkets. Does this do you good? Absolutely!
However, in the United States, there are just a lot of fast food chains that sell sumptuous breads. How can someone forget about Panera Bread?
About Panera Bread
When talking about unsurpassable bread, Panera bread produces these types. In the United States and Canada, Panera bread is the leading chain of bakery-café type of fast food restaurant.
Compared to all other average fast food restaurants, the prices on Panera Bread’s menu are much more costly. Why do you think is that? It is because Panera Bread is not considered to be a fast food restaurant in reality. Yes, the breads and dishes are prepared quickly but their signature dishes centers on quality and healthy food. To ensure the freshness of the foods they serve, Panera Bread makes it sure that they prepare the food every day. If interested, you can check Panera Bread’s menu and prices here.
Now, who says you cannot capture the goodness of Panera Bread even not buying it? Well, it is simple – make and bake your own homemade Panera bread. If you like to bake your own bread at all times, then there is nothing difficult with making homemade Panera bread. What makes it different from all the breads you have made at home? Maybe the ingredients or it can be the ways to prepare it. It is great that you experiment sometimes. After all, it is the Panera bread standards you are after.
To give you some heads up on how to bake your own homemade Panera bread, here is a recipe that you can start trying at home.
The Homemade Panera Bread Recipe
What makes homemade Panera bread better? It is more convenient, cost-effective, and healthy. Apart from that, you get to enjoy eating and smelling the bread that you made right at your own kitchen.
- 1 cup fresh whey (the by-product of fermentation, i.e. the liquid part of yogurt or the by-product of making cheese); if not available, use 3 cups of lukewarm water
- 1 ½ tablespoons of yeast (refrigerate to extend freshness)
- 1 ½ tablespoons of salt
- 6 ½ cups of unsifted flour
- Place the yeast in a small bowl and add ¼ cup of lukewarm water
- Let the mixture sit for around 10 minutes or until it gets bubbly.
- When you want it more homey and prefer to use hand, pour 6 ½ cups of flour into a large glass bowl.
- Add salt then mix.
- Make a small hole in the middle and then add the mixture of yeast and water.
- Slowly pour in the water or whey left. Some would prefer whey because it is healthier and easier to digest.
- Using big circular motion, mix the mixture slowly with your hand or a wooden spoon.
- If you have a kitchen aid or a mixer, then you can use either as well.
- When the dough gets moist, cover it with a thin cloth and let it rise for about 2 to 5 hours in a warm place. You can even let it stay overnight. You would know that it is done rising when the dough begins to collapse.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator. You can put a very little amount of oil if the dough gets so sticky. Though the Panera bread does not do this, who cares? This is your homemade Panera bread and you get to choose your own way.
- Move the dough to a smaller bowl making sure that it is covered loosely to allow it to breathe. This can actually last in your fridge for 2 weeks.
So, you have done the preparation, are you now ready to bake your homemade Panera bread?
- Set the oven into 425 degrees.
- Cut small amount depending on the size of your pan.
- Lightly put flour into the pan.
- Shape the dough (tuck bottom underneath to the portion above is smooth), sprinkle flour on top, and then slice three times with a knife.
- Let it rise for around 30 minutes.
- Put the bread dough into the oven.
- Bake your homemade bread for 30 minutes.
After these steps, you should have a slightly crunchy crust, with a moist center. Well, the look and taste would absolutely be like that of Panera bread. This bread would be great with sandwiches, salads, or soups.
The Advantages of Baking Your Own Bread
No matter how tasty the breads you buy and eat in food chains like in Panera bread, there is really something about homemade that will make you position yourself to have an edge. This is not saying that dwelling with breads in restaurants or bakeries is bad. It is just that homemade breads have these advantages:
- You can choose your own ingredients. If you know the whole process, you can apply your own twist and touch to achieve something. For instance, you can add or remove ingredients to make your bread healthier. Or you can add some recipe items that can make it more palatable.
- It is convenient in a sense that you do not have to drive away from home just to grab your favorite breads because you can make your own.
- It is inexpensive and you can have bigger portions – something which you might not afford if you are eating at Panera Bread.
- The sense of being home. There is nothing better than eating your homemade Panera bread that you prepared and baked right in your own home.